The Legacy of Michael Vick

Yesterday, Michael Vick announced his retirement from the NFL, after playing 13 seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Vick was one of the most exciting quarterbacks of the 2000s, with the ability to make big plays with his speed and his strong arm. He finished his career throwing for 133 touchdown passes for 22,464 yards, as well as over 6,00 rushing yards for 36 touchdowns.

Vick started out his career with the Atlanta Falcons, where he was known for his explosive play. Defenses really had to focus on preparing for him, as he was a duel threat quarterback who could make big plays on his feet or in the air at anytime. Vick is also known for being one of the best players to use in Madden football video games, especially the 2004 edition when he was on the cover of the game. Vick’s career with the Falcons was cut short when he was sentenced to 23 months in Federal prison for his involvement in hosting dogfights on property in Virginia (ESPN). The Falcons then released Vick, and he was suspended for the 2007 and 2008 NFL seasons.

Vick was released from prison in 2009, and later that year signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, being given a second chance. Many questioned this decision, and the hopes were he would show he was a rehabilitated man. Vick took criticisms all around the NFL universe, but he remained humble and admitted he made a mistake.

Michael Vick was accepting of what he had coming from the public, according to he said “I’m willing to deal with the consequences and accept responsibility for my actions.” He also said “use me as an example of an instrument of change.”

After being a backup quarterback with the Eagles for much of the 2009 season, he was given his opportunity to start for them in 2010, having arguably his best career season. During the 2010 campaign, he threw 21 touchdown passes in 12 games started for 3,018 yards, with over 600 yards rushing for 9 touchdowns. He had proven he was still capable of being a starter in the NFL, and during that season he led the Eagles to a division title and also made it to the Pro Bowl. He was mainly the Eagles starter until after 2013, and then he played 1 season for the Jets in 2014 and 1 season for the Steelers in 2015, mainly as a backup for both teams. It looked as though Vick’s career was going to be over in the NFL after 2007, but he certainly prolonged his career until 2015.

So, whether one wants to respect Michael Vick for admitting to his mistakes, and taking advantage of a 2nd chance in the correct manner, by not hitting the front pages of papers in a negative way is up to you to decide. From what I saw, Michael Vick has changed as a human, and become a much better person because of a huge mistake he made. I will not dismiss the fact that what he did was very wrong. But I respect that Michael Vick was able to accept the negative criticism across the country, and not fight back because he knew he was wrong. Today, Michael Vick is an activist against animal cruelty. According to a Washington Post article, Vick said “I was part of the problem. Now, my perspective can help reach people that activists can’t reach. I can help others become agents of change.” In that article, it also stated that Vick supported the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which makes it a federal crime to attend an organized animal fight, which was later signed by President Barack Obama in 2014. So what is Michael Vick’s legacy? Michael Vick was an exciting quarterback who messed up big time. He took advantage of his second chance, and is now a changed man. His goal in life now is to help people avoid making the same mistake he did, and also to not take anything for granted. Michael Vick’s legacy is much greater than football. I respect that.

All stats via Pro-Football-Reference.


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